Olympic NHLers: ‘Can We Play Some Pee Wee Teams Next?’

Is anyone else embarrassed by Olympic hockey so far?

Watching U.S./Switzerland yesterday, the American team seemed content to nurse a three-goal lead most of the game. The Americans didn’t go for the throat and in general, seemed to be trying to find their Olympic footing.

Basically, it was a super-talented team not executing in a super talented way. Or at least, not to the team’s full potential.

Canada/Norway had a similar start for Canada, but Canada quickly found its footing in the second, and wound up winning 8-0.

So basically, after two Olympic matches, we’ve seen NHL professionals are superior to non-NHL professionals.

And that’s what Olympic hockey has become: a contest to see which group of NHLers is the best. But for countries without a strong NHL contingent, showing up for the matches is pretty much a waste of time.

Even as a viewing experience, there’s just something wrong about watching these mismatches. Watching Team USA struggle against Switzerland was frustrating, because the Americans couldn’t seem to find their stride. You kept waiting for the USA to dominate and it never happened.

But watching Team Canada destroy Norway was also embarrassing, like watching a team of professionals throttle a team an amateurs, which the game was to a certain extent.

This effect should disappear as we head into the medal rounds and the games become more NHLer on NHLer, but for now, I’m not sure what’s enjoyable about watching these preliminary matches.

The Olympics are supposed to be for amateurs. Why not let the amateurs compete in Olympic hockey and let NHLers compete in an international tournament? This way, the NHL can leave its season intact and people watching Olympic hockey can get competitive matches.

Right now, the Olympics are making the All-Star Game look like an excellent use of NHL time. And that’s a scary statement.